Please remove my link

We know that Google is on the war path and mowing down web sites that have ‘unnatural’ or ‘spammy’ links pointing to them.

As the owner of a number of news/directory sites I am going to let you in on my ‘secrets’:

  • When I established my first community news site I wanted to showcase business and let people click though to a page that offered essential contact information on ONE page, whether the business had a web site or not.
  • I found that the same businesses came up time and time again in the news section.
  • It became a pain to link to each of these businesses contact pages or provide contact details for each that didn’t have a web site.
  • The solution: establish a directory so that I had ONE page to point to which, in turn, had ONE outgoing link to a businesses web site.
  • What I didn’t realise at the time was that the directory would become a valuable resource – and even more so for those people who didn’t have a web site as it gave them valuable online exposure for no cost.
  • At no time did I attempt to sell links or accept just anyone – for 10 years I have stuck to my respective narrow niches and avoided spamming the search engines with hundreds of external links for a single web site.
  • My business case: “Everything in Moderation”

This philosophy has stood me in good stead – slow and steady growth.

But now everyone who indulged in wholesale linking from every kind of directory in the world is now running around and removing themselves from every directory they can find just to try and get back in Google’s good graces.

Hence I am in receipt of a few (as in three in the last month) emails as the one you see below. If I consider that I only received 3 out of tens of thousands of listings then I remain convinced that my method of playing nice has been the correct one.

Hi there

We have recently received a notification from Google stating that our website has unnatural links pointing towards it. This has really damaged our rankings on Google and as a result, we’re trying to clear things up.

Below is a sample list of pages from your site – – with links pointing to our website:

Could you please remove all links pointing to our website, or add the rel=’nofollow’ attribute to the links pointing to our site?

I appreciate this is inconvenient and isn’t a reflection on your website at all, but if you’re able to remove the links, we would really appreciate it and would be very grateful.

If you have any questions – feel free to contact me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards from

Confused CEO

In all three cases I removed the listings immediately.

In two of the cases the initial request was followed up after a few days ‘reminding’ me AGAIN to remove the links. You will appreciate that the second request will be viewed by myself as somewhat irksome!

It is at this point that Matt Cutts’ ears must surely be burning as I begin to curse Google’s latest attempt to penalise people who have been naughty as I offer up a not so silent approximation of a shouted prayer that Google should rather punish the sites that the links come from instead of the hapless buggers who went and embarked on a wholesale linking campaign thinking that quantity beats quality every time. Stooooopid.

So I ask – maybe I should ask people to pay to have listings removed that they initially submitted?

Responsive Design vs Dedicated Mobile Site

In this video and in response to a question asked by John E. of New York; “Does a site leveraging responsive design ‘lose’ any SEO benefit compared to a more traditional m. site?”, Matt Cutts explains that there is no SEO disadvantage to using responsive design. In fact Cutts seems to come out in favour of using responsive design as he says; “… if you have a mobile version of your site [as well as a PC version] and you don’t do the rel canonical well you might, in theory, divide the page rank between those two pages. But, if you have responsive design everything is handled from one URL and so the page rank doesn’t get divided and everything works fine.”

Matt Cutts is Google’s head of search spam.